Numerical modeling of multi-stranded hydraulic fracture propagation: Accounting for the interaction between induced and natural fractures

Arash Dahi Taleghani, Jon E. Olson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent examples of hydraulic fracture diagnostic data suggest complex, multi-stranded hydraulic fractures geometry is a common occurrence. This reality is in stark contrast to the industry-standard design models based on the assumption of symmetric, planar, bi-wing geometry. The interaction between pre-existing natural fractures and the advancing hydraulic fracture is a key condition leading to complex fracture patterns. Performing hydraulic fracture design calculations under these less than ideal conditions requires modeling fracture intersections and tracking fluid fronts in the network of reactivated fissures. Whether a hydraulic fracture crosses or is arrested by a pre-existing natural fracture is controlled by shear strength and potential slippage at the fracture intersections, as well as potential debonding of sealed cracks in the near-tip region of a propagating hydraulic fracture. We present a complex hydraulic fracture pattern propagation model based on the Extended Finite Element Method (XFEM) as a design tool that can be used to optimize treatment parameters under complex propagation conditions. Results demonstrate that fracture pattern complexity is strongly controlled by the magnitude of anisotropy of in situ stresses, rock toughness, and natural fracture cement strength as well as the orientation of the natural fractures relative to the hydraulic fracture. Analysis shows that the growing hydraulic fracture may exert enough tensile and shear stresses on cemented natural fractures that they may be debonded, opened and/or sheared in advance of hydraulic fracture tip arrival, while under other conditions, natural fractures will be unaffected by the hydraulic fracture. Detailed aperture distributions at the intersection between fracture segments shows the potential for difficulty in proppant transport under complex fracture propagation conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2009, ATCE 2009
Pages3594-3603
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
EventSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2009, ATCE 2009 - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Oct 4 2009Oct 7 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
Volume6

Other

OtherSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2009, ATCE 2009
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA
Period10/4/0910/7/09

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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    Dahi Taleghani, A., & Olson, J. E. (2009). Numerical modeling of multi-stranded hydraulic fracture propagation: Accounting for the interaction between induced and natural fractures. In Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2009, ATCE 2009 (pp. 3594-3603). (Proceedings - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition; Vol. 6).